A new pizzeria is planned for for former Tosa Bowl and Bun and Venturi’s Market at 7212 W. North Ave. in East Tosa.
Maggio's Wood Fired Pizza, run by Jeremy Maggio, will open across the street from BB’s Pizza, which opened just before the pandemic, in February 2020.
Pete and Sue Venturi opened Venturi’s Market in the space in 1997 and replaced it with Tosa Bowl and Bun in 2015. But the family recently announced it was closing the business on July 22 and hosting a farewell bash the following day.
Maggio previously ran a wood-fired pizza trailer that he used as a side gig doing private catering gigs with his wife, Emily, from 2015 to 2017.
The 2,800-square-foot Maggio's Wood Fired Pizza will have about 60 seats and offer carryout.
“Our logo is a fig leaf Emily drew and is inspired by my nonno, who immigrated from Sicily in the ‘50s and kept fig trees in barrels that would have to be moved indoors in the winter,” says Maggio.
“Before building that oven I had never made a pizza in a wood oven, but it didn't take long to fall in love with making dough, cooking pizzas and making people happy with my food.”
The couple sold the trailer and moved to Seattle. They recently returned to Milwaukee.
“I've never stopped making pizzas, though,” says Maggio, “and was experimenting and refining my dough and pizza recipes the whole time we were in Washington. I even built another backyard oven from scratch.”
Maggio will partner with Andy Fries, who has 15 years experience working in and managing restaurants.
“He is also a close friend who I went to high school with – Arrowhead in Hartland – and who was a groomsman in my wedding,” says Maggio.
“Originally he had just been helping me with my business plan but eventually we realized it would be a great fit to officially bring him in. He is also one of the most genuine and positive people I know, and people love working with and for him.
Maggio says work will begin to completely renovate the Tosa Bowl and Bun space beginning in September and he and Fries plan to open the pizzeria in January.
“I'm lucky to have a sister who's an extremely talented interior designer,” says Maggio. “She and her company, CM Natural Designs, designed the space. She says that it's mostly urban industrial with classic European touches such as the vintage hairpin chairs and geometric floor tiles.
“I just say it looks cool.”
Maggio says the restaurant, which will have an open kitchen, will serve wood-fired pizzas, salads, sandwiches and desserts, as well as soda, beer, wine and espresso drinks, and may later expand into cocktails.
Customers will order at the counter and their food will be delivered to their table.
Maggio’s will be open evenings and weekends.
“We'll have a dough prep area along the front window so people can see it being made in the mornings before we open,” says Maggio.” The space will be family friendly and I'm building a kids play area with a model oven.
“While I always envisioned opening a family restaurant, I've noticed that when making pizza for friends and family that kids absolutely love it. So that's something that I'm really looking forward to – a really lively and casual space.”
Maggio says that they’re currently working on making sure the 1930 Arcade Building can safely accommodate the oven and new HVAC equipment – structurally speaking – and other details.
“Every day is an adventure and it's both stressful and exciting,” he enthuses. “I have also been buying and restoring vintage hairpin chairs over the last six months which I hope will bring a lot of character to the space.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.